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International Journal of Inflammation
Volume 2017, Article ID 4525309, 9 pages
Research Article

Curcumin Inhibits NTHi-Induced MUC5AC Mucin Overproduction in Otitis Media via Upregulation of MAPK Phosphatase MKP-1

Center for Inflammation, Immunity & Infection, Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Jian-Dong Li; ude.usg@ildj

Received 10 January 2017; Revised 19 March 2017; Accepted 23 March 2017; Published 12 April 2017

Academic Editor: B. L. Slomiany

Copyright © 2017 Anuhya Sharma Konduru et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Otitis media (OM), characterized by the presence of mucus overproduction and excess inflammation in the middle ear, is the most common childhood infection. Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) pathogen is responsible for approximately one-third of episodes of bacteria-caused OM. Current treatments for bacterial OM rely on the systemic use of antibiotics, which often leads to the emergence of multidrug resistant bacterial strains. Therefore there is an urgent need for developing alternative therapies strategies for controlling mucus overproduction in OM. MUC5AC mucin has been shown to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of OM. Here we show that curcumin derived from Curcuma longa plant is a potent inhibitor of NTHi-induced MUC5AC mucin expression in middle ear epithelial cells. Curcumin inhibited MUC5AC expression by suppressing activation of p38 MAPK by upregulating MAPK phosphatase MKP-1. Thus, our study identified curcumin as a potential therapeutic for inhibiting mucin overproduction in OM by upregulating MKP-1, a known negative regulator of inflammation.